Many people don't realize just how important and dynamic Krakow is, but it is considered to be one of the leading scientific, cultural, and artistic centers of the country, and once served as the residence of the king and as the national capital. With a history spanning more than 1,000 years, Krakow is respected as the spiritual heart of Poland, and it is a major center for international tourism, with seven million visitors a year adding to the 1.4 million residents.
The city blends natural beauty perfectly by sitting on the Vistula River at the foot of Wawel Hill. Water and mountains: It doesn't get much better than that. The multitude of ancient castles, churches, and squares aren't hard on the eyes either, and allow visitors to disappear into a venerable fairytale of breathtaking sights with some buildings appearing European, others appearing Russian, and some completely unique.